Named by American Theatre as the most-produced playwright in America in 2017 and 2019, the Bay Area's Lauren Gunderson returns this month with her latest play, The Catastrophist. Based on the life and work of virologist Nathan Wolfe, The Catastrophist dives into his story in a pre-COVID world.
Wolfe was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2011 for his work tracking Ebola and swine flu, and proposed the concept of pandemic insurance long before COVID-19. For the past eight years, he’s also been married to Gunderson, whose 70-minute play follows Wolfe’s life as he contends with professional and personal challenges.
The Catastrophist is strikingly contemporary and relevant in both content and production. As one-man show (Wolfe is played by William DeMeritt, in a performance The Economist calls “mesmerizing”), its physical and metaphorical isolation of Wolfe’s character evokes that of current-day COVID guidelines and stay-at-home orders.
Gunderson, playwright-in-residence at Marin Theatre Company, is a winner of the Berrilla Kerr Award for American Theatre, Global Age Project, Young Playwright’s Award, Eric Bentley New Play Award, Essential Theatre Prize, and more.
'The Catastrophist' streams online through Feb. 28 through the Marin Theatre Company and Round House Theatre. Details here.